From the Class Room to the Mechanical Room: How Architectural Engineering Students Benefit from a Partnership Between the University’s Faculty and Facilities Engineers




Illanes, Laura

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When it comes to teaching architectural engineering students how to design and understand the large and highly technical building systems in institutions, professors often look for opportunities for their students to see the systems where they come “alive” in order to better comprehend how they work. A facility must function well to serve its purpose to its occupants. Like a breathing organism, the electrical, mechanical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems pulsing throughout the facility must remain operational. If the systems go down, the facility cannot support its purpose. One of the best ways to help teach this is the definitive “show and tell” where the class room is replaced with the mechanical room. This is the story of how a professor at The University of Texas at Austin helped make abstract concepts concrete in a partnership with the facilities professionals responsible for the university’s building operations. Twice a semester, she takes her students to a tour of two buildings: one that is newer and one that is older in order to compare and contrast the facilities in operation. How does our story begin? How do the tours impact the students?


Values at Work Series: Facilities Services developed our core values of Service, Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence, and Stewardship (collectively referred to as SITES) based on the way we approach our work. Our values can be found throughout our areas of services in many ways.Through a series of articles, the Values at Work Series is devoted to providing a closer look at how our values are hard at work. Each article focuses on an area of service and how that group incorporates our values in a significant way. We are proud of our employees who continue to serve as an example of “walking the talk” every day.

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